The Intern Written exam tests your skills, experience, knowledge and understanding as a pharmacy intern.

The Intern Written exam is one component of the general registration exam. You are required to pass the exam to show that you have the competence to practise safely and effectively in the Australian healthcare setting.

The Intern Oral Exam, delivered by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, is another component of the general registration exam.

Before applying for general registration as a pharmacist you will need to pass both exams and complete other aspects of the internship such as:

  • sign-off by preceptors of your remaining supervised practice
  • completion of your Intern Training Program

This guide to the exam outlines the content areas that we assess and is designed to help you to prepare for the exam. We also suggest talking with your professional network about how you're preparing for the exam. Their support and advice might help you to perform better.

On this page:

Exam format

Before starting the exam, you are given 15 minutes to complete a tutorial designed to familiarise yourself with the exam software.

The exam consists of 75 questions delivered over a 2-hour session.

  • 67 questions are scored,
  • 8 are unscored (pilot) questions.

All questions are randomised, but you can flag questions to return to review at the end of the exam. You must answer all 75 questions to complete the exam.

All questions are multiple-choice questions with one correct answer out of 4 options, and some questions will relate to a patient profile.

5 minutes is allocated after you finish the exam for you to complete a survey.

Style conventions

Medicine and ingredient names will be presented as per the TGA list of approved names.

Values will be presented will be in SI (metric) units.

Units for quantities of drugs and directions for medications follow the approved abbreviations from the Recommendations for terminology, abbreviations and symbols used in medicines documentation.

Determiners are bold and capitalised to draw your attention to the kind of response expected. e.g. CORRECT, MOST, LEAST, NOT.

Exam scoring

You must complete all questions in the paper or papers you sit.

The pass standard for the exam is set at a level that demonstrates competency. The pass standard also takes into account the performance of candidates in prior sittings. This analysis of results over previous years ensures fairness and equity over a period of time. The level of difficulty remains constant across time.

You will receive a results certificate indicating your outcome.

We'll email you when your results are available. Expect this to be around 2 weeks after you sit the exam.

Question Content

Content category

Candidate Competency assessed in area including


Drug half lives

Required dosages

Drug concentrations


Drug interactions

Drug management

Health promotion activities

High risk drugs


Dosage forms

Drug preparations

Drug packaging

Drug labelling

First Aid competency

Primary care

Injuries (sporting, accidental, trauma)

Acute and sudden illness (chest pains, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness)

Law and ethics

Application of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

PBS Authority prescriptions, prescriptions and Special Access Scheme (SAS) considerations

Drug schedules Health practitioner national law

Patient confidentiality and privacy provisions PharmBA codes and guidelines

Therapeutic areas and disease state management






Ear, nose and throat



Malignant Disease

Nervous system




Content areas

The Intern Written exam covers 6 content areas, which are based on the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia 2016.

You'll need to show you understand, and have suitable skills, experience and knowledge in the following content areas.

Content Area 1.3: Practise within applicable legal framework

Professionalism and ethics


Content assessed


Comply with statute law, guidelines, codes and standards


Respond to common law requirements


Respect and protect the individual's rights to privacy and confidentiality

Content Area 3.1: Develop a patient centred, culturally responsive approach to medication management

Medicines management and patient care


Content assessed


Obtain relevant health and medicines information


Assess medication management practices and needs


Collaborate to develop a medication management strategy or plan

Content Area 3.2: Implement the medication management strategy or plan

Medicines management and patient care


Content assessed


Provide primary care and promote judicious use of medicines


Dispense medicines (including compounded medicines) in consultation with the patient and/or prescriber


Provide counselling and information for safe and effective medication management

Content Area 3.3: Monitor and evaluate medication management

Medicines management and patient care


Content assessed


Apply clinical review findings to improve health outcomes

Content Area 3.4: Compound medicines

Medicines management and patient care


Content assessed


Determine the required formulation

Content Area 3.6: Promote health and well-being

Medicines management and patient care


Content assessed


Support health promotion activities and health services intended to maintain and improve health

Law and ethics content area

Pharmacists must comply with a range of:

  • legislative instruments
  • codes
  • guidelines
  • standards

You'll often need to exercise your professional judgement in the workplace. This professional judgment is underpinned by:

  • codes of practice
  • guidelines
  • relevant regulations, such as the Privacy Act.

This means you'll want to familiarise yourself with the following references for the Law and Ethics section.

Indicative element as outlined in the Pharmacy Competency Standards

Possible source or reference


a. Applicable Commonwealth  legislative framework,  Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Principles of scheduling

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – Department of Health 

Scheduling basics – Therapeutic Goods Administration 

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 

National Health Act 1953


b. Code of conduct, policies and guidelines, mandatory  notifications, social media policy, advertising legislation and guidelines

Codes, Guidelines and Policies published by the Pharmacy Board of Australia

Guidelines on Mandatory Notifications – Ahpra

Guidelines for advertising regulated health services – Ahpra

Advertising health services with Schedule 3, Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 medicines – Therapeutic Goods Administration

Advertising to the public. Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2). 2018 – Therapeutic Goods Administration


c. The duty of care to the health care consumer and the wider public: concept, scope and application of professional ethics, including gaining informed consent

Australian Charter of Health Care Rights - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Disability and equal opportunity legislation

Australian Consumer Law

The Privacy Act

Australian Privacy Principles (APPs)

My Health Record – Australian Digital Health Agency



d. Professional standards and guidelines for practice. Self-reflection and reflective practice, self-audit, continuing professional development and maintenance of competency

National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists (2016)

Professional practice Standards v5 - Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Codes, guidelines and policies published by the Pharmacy Board of Australia


Sample paper

Download the sample paper (32 pages PDF)

To help you sit the exam, we provide an official sample paper. It contains older questions to help you practise.

They may not be the same level of difficulty that you may experience in the actual exam. These questions are no longer used, but they'll help you understand:

  • the types of content covered in each paper of the exam
  • how questions might be presented.

If you want to practise the sample papers under exam conditions, you'll need to answer all 75 questions in 2 hours.

The real Intern Written exam is delivered online at an approved test centre, or remotely proctored via OnVUE. Our exam provider, Pearson VUE, provides an online sample test.


The Intern Written Exam is 'open-book'. This means you can bring any printed or hand-written reference materials. No blank paper is allowed in the exam room.

We base our exams on the latest information, which you can find in relevant:

  • journals
  • publications
  • textbooks

It's up to you to find this information. We do not endorse any external reference sources.

You may also like…

Was this page helpful?